Now Showing

Capsule reviews of current exhibits

Robert Kushner andArlene Shechet. New York artist Robert Kushner, who first came to prominence as a performance artist in the 1970s, creates paintings and works on paper based on flowers. His Denver representative, the van Straaten Gallery, is presenting a handsome selection of both in this impressive exhibit. There's a decidedly post-pop-art quality to the paintings, in which large, simplified renditions of flowers are carried out in bright colors that have been accented with glitter, of all things. The works on paper have a much quieter appeal, though Kushner gets a little theatrical by using shiny metallic foils in some of them. The Kushners take up most of the front part of the gallery and have been paired with Arlene Shechet's monotypes in the back. These were done at Riverhouse Editions, a Steamboat Springs-based printmaker associated with the gallery. Shechet is also from New York and is currently the subject of a solo at MCA Denver. The monotypes at van Straaten, done with watercolors, depict abstracted scenes made up of silhouettes of vessels. Through August 29 at van Straaten Gallery, 760 Santa Fe Drive, 303-573-8585, www.vanStraatenGallery.com.

Trace (Figurative). Metro State Center for Visual Art director Jennifer Garner has taken a look at figural art that is, to say the least, offbeat. She's selected four artists who don't depict the figure, but rather directly refer to it. There are some stomach-turning aspects to this show, with dirty footprints, wads of hair out of drains, sweat stains on fabric and blood used to make the pieces. But far from being a gross-out fest, the exhibit is actually filled with thoughtful pieces, some of which are even conventionally beautiful. The works are abstract, but the content is conceptual, as indicated by the strange materials. The display gets under way with paintings by Jason Lee Gimbel made up of canvases covered with his footprints. Then there's a section given over to those wads of hair, done in digitized prints on paper by Nigel Poor. Probably the most compelling pieces are installations of sweat-stained cloth stitched together by Heather Doyle-Maier. The last of the quartet of body-snatchers is Denis Roussel, who uses digitized photos of smears of blood. Through August 13 at the Center for Visual Art, 1734 Wazee Street, 303-294-5207, www.metrostatecva.org. Reviewed July 16.

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